Have you ever come back from a vacation feeling like you needed a vacation? Have you ever come back from a vacation and been knocked out by feeling exhausted and stressed rather than stepping right into high gear?
Don’t worry – you’re not alone. Many people find themselves experiencing an overall decrease in well-being and work productivity following a satisfying vacation. This condition is called “post-vacation fatigue” or “post-vacation blues.”
Studies say that after any big event – a vacation, a wedding or a holiday – there can be a lull afterwards. That anti-climactic return-to-normal routine can hit some of us harder than others. The feeling of the sameness of the home life you temporarily left behind can return all too quickly.
But all vacations must eventually end, and then it’s back to reality. Even so, having to get back into the routine of work, school and daily life following an enjoyable vacation can be a source of distress, disorientation and discomfort to many. Such stress and anxiety associated with post-vacation fatigue can even start early when you start thinking about the idea of coming home.
Though post-vacation fatigue can leave you feeling exhausted, unmotivated or blue, if not all three, fortunately it’s only temporary.
Here are a few tricks that can help you beat the blues, dive right back into a productive routine, and even infuse your home life with the excitement and inspiration you felt while you were away:
Be proactive before travelling:
Coming back to a dirty, cluttered home can exacerbate post-vacation fatigue. So, clean the house as thoroughly as you can before you leave for vacation. Make the beds, vacuum the floors and empty the rubbish bins. Prepare some water and some emergency food for the fridge in case you come back late at night.
Also take care of other tasks that aren’t housework-related, such as paying bills and answering work and personal emails before you go, so you don’t need to spend any post-vacation time on them.
Allow yourself to recover upon returning:
Have one or more buffer days when returning from a trip to pace yourself and adjust your way back into your daily routine. Try to avoid overloading your family’s schedule with post-vacation activities and social engagements. Get enough sleep, and once you return to work be sure to go to bed and get up at your normal times.
Coming home at least a day before going back to work also allows you to settle in, unpack, do laundry and find the time to buy fresh groceries or even to take care of anything unexpected that came up while you were away. It also allows you to check emails before going back into the office. This can reduce the anxiety and stress associated with an impending workload, which is another contributor to post-vacation fatigue.
Sticking to a workout routine while you’re travelling, though it may seem daunting, can help keep you in shape and reduce stress and fatigue. And if you continue that workout regimen after you return from your trip, your body will have a sense of physical stability that can beat the post-travel blues by releasing some endorphins. Any type of workout, even for 15 minutes, can lift your mood, lower stress and anxiety and keep your heart healthy.
Detox from vacation food:
Only the most health-conscious of us are able to maintain healthy eating habits while we’re away on vacation, and that could be a reason to feel post-vacation fatigue. Take a break from rich, heavy feasts and prepare a few healthy dinners yourself instead to get a healthier eating routine back on track.
Slowly ease back into your normal:
Be realistic and don’t try to do too much too soon. You may not have the same energy and enthusiasm you once had for work or responsibilities at home. Slowly ease back into your usual sleeping, eating and exercise routines and recognise that this unease will eventually lift.
Plan your next vacation:
According to experts, planning a trip can give you happiness and excitement. There’s no better way to cure the post-vacation blues than to get excited about an adventure to come. The process of planning can also cheer you up with the anticipation of your next trip, and you will be motivated to work hard to save up money and time for your next vacation.
Frame your photographs:
Just looking at the photographs of a great vacation can motivate you to be back on your feet again. Pick the most wonderful and meaningful you have from your vacation, print them out, frame them, and hang them on your walls. You can also share them with friends on social media.